AMMAN: Jordan will impose a strict curfew from 7 a.m. on Saturday until Tuesday, March 24 after citizens ignored government warnings over the coronavirus outbreak to stay at home.
Prime Minister Omar Razzaz’s order followed his declaration of martial law in the country on March 18.
Col. Basheer Al-Daaja, former spokesman for the Jordanian police, told Arab News that the premier’s curfew decision should have come as no surprise.
“The prime minister had warned that if undisciplined people would not stay home, he would be obliged to use his authority and place the country under lockdown.
“This curfew applies to persons walking or in their vehicles and means that many important private and public institutions will not be guarded. I expect that the security forces will be deploying troops to guard these locations,” he said.
The Jordanian army would be unlikely to show any tolerance toward anyone violating the curfew, the colonel added.
On Friday, military vehicles were being stationed on streets to enforce the lockdown and provide medical care and emergency assistance where needed.
Amman resident Mohammed Abu Safieh told Arab News that grocery shops and bakeries in the east of the capital were packed on Friday evening as residents flocked to buy supplies. “This caused massive crowding which in itself defeats the idea of social distancing,” he said.
Jordanian security experts said that the pre-curfew rush had mostly involved people who had failed to heed government warnings about virus measures over recent days.
Razzaz said a crisis committee established on Jan. 24, had taken 132 decisions aimed at protecting Jordanians from the coronavirus outbreak which has so far infected 69 people in the country.
Amjad Adaileh, Jordan’s minister for media affairs, said that 4,892 people who had recently arrived in the country from abroad were under mandatory 14-day quarantine in 34 hotels in Amman and around the Dead Sea coast.
Adnan Abu Odeh, adviser to the late King Hussein and King Abdullah II, praised Razzaz and the Jordanian leadership for their handling of the ongoing crisis.
“Prime Minister Razzaz has done the logical work that should be done in such a circumstance. He and his team have followed the WHO (World Health Organization) protocols very closely. So far so good,” he said.
In an address to Jordanians, Razzaz said: “If the government errs, we will have the courage to make the needed corrections.”